The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

08 April 2014

Heeding the call to action

This article appeared on 7 April 2014 in the print and on-line versions of Manila Bulletin's "Angels Talk," by Dang U. Koe, ASP Chair Emeritus.

Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General, said that the "World Autism Awareness Day is about more than generating understanding; it is a call to action." And act we did.

The successful celebration of the 18th National Autism Consciousness Week last January ushered in the 25th year of the Autism Society Philippines. During the ASP Chapter Leaders Conference held last March, the ASP national leadership rallied its 69 chapters for year-long autism events befitting their silver year.

For the 7th World Autism Awareness Day celebrated every April 2, the ASP chapters lined up advocacy activities for the entire month of April, which inspires not just awareness; but more importantly, acceptance and inclusion. We are claiming April as Autism Acceptance Month.

Some of the autism awareness and acceptance events done so far, include an open house and bazaar last April 2 at the Autism Resource Center of ASP Laguna Chapter, which included film showing. ASP UP CAMP treated their members and children with autism to Mind Museum for a day of recreation and fellowship last April 3. ASP Sta. Rosa Laguna held “A Special Exhibit by Persons with Autism” in SM Mall Sta Rosa, while ASP Baguio launched their coffee book of photos from their “Colors of A Spectrum” photography workshops and exhibits.

100 delegates from ASP chapters in Parañaque, Pasay, Novaliches, UP CAMP, Cavite, and Tacloban, dressed in green -- the trademark color of our 25-year advocacy -- joined the Light it Up Blue ceremonies at SM Mall of Asia, organized by the National Council on Disability Affairs and the Autism Hearts Foundation.

The chapters were also busy conducting autism orientation seminars, such as the one by ASP City of San Fernando for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources attended by Regional Director Francisco Milla, Jr. and 35 GAD focal persons from the different DENR Provincial Field offices. UP CAMP participated in a panel discussion on Economic and Political Foundations of Rehabilitation Science practice in the Philippines. ASP leaders oriented management and employees of Marco Polo Hotel in handling customers with autism and intellectual disabilities.

For the rest of April, more educational seminars are scheduled: April 12 – Seminar for parents, teachers, caregivers and other professionals on "Fundamentals in the Care and Management of Children with Autism" (Los Baños, Laguna); April 21-25- hands on training for parents and teachers in Teaching Children with Disabilities (Los Baños, Laguna); April 26, Seminar on Nutrition and Autism (Manila), and ABA Special Learning on the “Great 8 for Speech Language Pathologists and Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

A surprise WAAD treat came from SM Cares who partnered with Philippine Basketball Association to deliver a basketball clinic for members of the ASP and Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines. Twenty persons with autism from ASP National and its chapters in Sta. Rosa, Pasay City and Tandang Sora were treated to a fun-filled hand-on course where they learned basketball basics from San Mig Coffee Mixers assistant coaches - Coach Jeffrey Cariaso, Coach Topex Robinson, and Coach Richard Del Rosario.

Let us not forget that all our efforts as autism advocates are more than creating awareness and understanding. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged all concerned “to take part in fostering progress by supporting education programmes, employment opportunities and other measures that help realize our shared vision of a more inclusive world.” For Filipinos with autism, ASP has identified 7 fundamental needs of the autism community that we hope our leaders in government and the private sector can consider in engineering laws, policies and procedures: mandatory developmental assessment, comprehensive needs assessment, inclusive education, public servants with special skills, community-based rehabilitation, comprehensive sensitivity training for schools and workplaces, and creative mechanisms for funding.

For those interested to attend ASP seminars mentioned or in becoming ASP members, please visit or follow ASP on Facebook and Twitter.


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